Australia’s federal government has announced funding for its aged care sector to the tune of $662 million.

As reported in Australian Aged Care INsite, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced every Australian living in residential aged care will have an extra $1800 spent on their care over the next 18 months, with $320 million set to be rolled out to residential facilities.

The funding announcement comes as the Royal Commission into Australia’s aged care industry kicks into gear.

COTA Australia was glad about the extra $320 million, wishes the funding was tied to better staffing.

“I expect many of the issues and unsatisfactory practices that will be raised during the Aged Care Royal Commission… will be attributed to inadequate staff numbers and poor staff training and development,” chief executive Ian Yates said.

The announcement also includes $7.7 million to improve the quality and safety regime for home care and the trial of a new method of funding residential care.

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) chief executive Sean Rooney sees this as acknowledgement that the current approach to funding is inadequate.

“It is the core funding arrangements for the sector, and how the funding tool is able to respond to the true cost of care, that has been our biggest ongoing concern,” Rooney said, adding any trial should look at staffing models to ensure for a better understanding of necessary staffing and skills mix.

New Zealand’s aged care industry is currently undergoing a funding review following similar concerns that the status quo is not working for many providers and residents.

Breakdown of Australia’s $662 million funding package:

  • $282.4 million for 10,000 home care packages across all levels
  • A $320 million general subsidy boost in 2018-19 for residential aged care services
  • A $4.2 million mandatory national aged care quality indicator program
  • $7.7 million to enhance the safety, quality and integrity of home care
  • $35.7 million to increase home care supplements for dementia and cognition and veterans
  • A $4.6 million trial of a new residential care funding tool to replace the Aged Care Funding Instrument
  • A new $7.4 million business advisory service for both residential and home care providers to help them improve their operations and share best practice.

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